I'm fortunate to have good nappers, something I give thanks for every afternoon between 12:30pm and 1pm till around 3pm. But I know so many others out there aren't so lucky. Elizabeth's new book (the No Cry Nap Solution) is out to help save your sanity!
Here's an excerpt from her book:
Dear Reader ~
I thought I knew everything there was to know about naps, since I’ve written two other books and countless articles about children and sleep, but I was shocked and amazed at the new information I discovered while writing this book.
I set out on this venture knowing that parents struggle getting their children to nap. Everyone knows that children need naps, but the biological reasons behind this will convince you, without a doubt, that you should do everything you can to provide your baby or young child with daily nap time. It is common knowledge that when a child misses a nap he gets cranky, but you will be intrigued to learn the actual reasons why this happens.
Naps take only a few hours of time, but naps – or lack of naps – shape all twenty-four hours of your child’s day. The quality and quantity of your child’s naps influence his mood, behavior, health, and brain development. Naps can affect how happy your child is when she wakes up in the morning and how easily she’ll go to bed at night. An appropriate nap schedule is a vital component for your child’s healthy, happy life. When you consider all of this, you’ll also understand that your child’s naps – or lack of naps – can affect all 24 hours of your day, as well as your child’s.
While all experts agree that naps are important, and while they all know that nap problems can be a challenge to parents, what’s often missing are gentle, sensitive, loving solutions. Every idea I present is kind and respectful of the needs of both children and parents. In addition, I know that all children and parents are different, and cookie-cutter solutions are not what parents seek, so I include many options that can be customized to your own needs.
I have included excerpts for you below. For a complete set of excerpts please visit my website here: http://www.pantley.com/elizabeth
The Volcano Effect: Why Skipping a Nap Results in Meltdown
By Elizabeth Pantley, Author of The No-Cry Nap Solution
From the moment your child wakes in the morning he is slowly using up the benefits of the previous night’s sleep. He wakes up totally refreshed, but as the hours pass, little by little, the benefits of his sleep time are used up, and an urge to return to sleep begins to build. When we catch a child at in-between stages and provide naps, we build up his reservoir of sleep-related benefits, allowing him a “fresh start” after each sleep period.
As shown on the sleep chart below, as children age, the length of time that they can stay “happily awake” increases. A newborn can only be awake one or two hours before tiredness sets in, whereas a two year old can last five to seven hours before craving some down time for a nap. When children are pushed beyond their biological awake time span without a break that’s when they be com e fatigued, fussy and unhappy.
“Happily Awake” span of time between naps
1 – 2 hours
6 month old
2 – 3 hours
12 month old
3 – 4 hours
18 month old
4 – 6 hours
2 year old
5 – 7 hours
3 year old
6 – 8 hours
4 year old
6 – 12 hours
As the day progresses, and the sleep pressure builds, a child be com es fussier, whinier, and less flexible. He has more crying spells, more tantrums, and less patience. He loses concentration and the ability to learn and retain new information. The scientific term for this process is “homeostatic sleep pressure” or “homeostatic sleep drive” . . . I call it The Volcano Effect. We’ve all seen the effects of this on a baby or child, as it is often as clear as watching a volcano erupt; nearly everyone has observed a fussy child and thought or said, “Someone needs a nap!”
As a child progresses through his day, his biology demands a sleep break to regroup, refresh and repair. If a child does not get this break the problem intensifies: the rumblings and tremors be com e an outright explosion. Without a nap break, the homeostatic pressure continues building until the end of the day, growing in intensity – like a volcano – so that a child be com es overtired, wired and unable to stop the explosion. The result is an intense bedtime battle with a cranky, overtired child, or an infant who won’t fall asleep no matter how tired you know he is.
Even more, a child who misses naps day after day builds a sleep deprivation that launches her into the volcano stage much easier and quicker. If she is missing naps and also lacking the right quality or quantity of nighttime sleep…watch out!
Newborns and young babies have a much shorter span in which their sleep pressure builds. They rapidly reach the peak of their volcano in one to three hours. This is why newborns sleep throughout the day, and why young babies require two or three or four daily naps. Over time, as a baby’s sleep cycle matures he will be able to go longer periods between sleeps. It is not until age 4 or 5 that a child is able to go happily through the entire day without a nap, and sleep research suggests that even through adulthood a mid-day nap or rest break is extremely beneficial in reducing the pressure in all human beings.
The Volcano Effect is not something reserved only for children! This biological process affects adults as well. Understanding this can help you interpret what is really going on in your home at the end of a long day, when children are fussy and parents are grumpy – resulting in a whole mountain range of volcanoes.
Sleep pressure can be exaggerated by environmental issues such as the previous poor night’s sleep, on-going sleep deprivation, or daily stress. What's more, each person’s moodiness feeds off the others, causing contagious crankiness. And then you’ll find yourself losing patience and saying to your child, “I’m sorry, honey. Mommy’s just tired right now.” (This is a very telling explanation we don’t often stop to analyze.)
This Volcano concept brings to light one more important point: Quality naps can make up for lost night sleep – but extra nighttime sleep does not make up for missed naps, due to the homeostatic sleep pressure concept. Therefore, no matter how your child sleeps at night – great sleeper or poor sleeper -- his daily naps are critically important to release the rising sleep pressure.
This is a copyrighted excerpt from The No-Cry Nap Solution: Guaranteed Gentle Ways to Solve All Your Naptime Problems by Elizabeth Pantley. (McGraw-Hill, December 2008).You may reproduce this on your website or in your work. Please include my name and book title. More excerpts (available for reprint) are posted on my website. http://www.pantley.com/elizabeth
So why I am I sharing this here? Well first of all I agree 100% in not letting your child cry (and this doesn't mean the little whimpers or a minute or 2 of crying, I'm against the your child is so upset they are puking sort of crying). And I know how important sleep is to the entire family. Plus I get entered into a drawing to possibly win books. So it's good for everyone all around!